For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!
- Job 19:25-27a
Most of us will know these words as the second sentence in the Prayer Book’s Burial service: I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shalt stand at the latter day upon the earth. Many of us have heard these words sung by the soprano soloist in Handel’s
Messiah. They are, in any case, unforgettable, and it is not incidental that they are known often as words of comfort.
An old professor of mine argues that in our very modern quest to know the Jesus of history, the Jesus who really walked, really taught, really preached, we must admit that the Resurrected Christ is part of the historical Jesus. The Resurrection is reported by the gospels not as vision, nor as dream, but as an event, just the same as Jesus’ teaching, consorting with tax collectors, and breaking bread.
When in John 11 Jesus arrives in Bethany, where his friend Lazarus has been dead for four days, his sister Martha accuses Jesus: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” At which point Jesus announces the first sentence in
the Burial service: I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. (John 11:25-26) He then puts the question to Martha: do you believe this?
He is putting the question to us as well. Do you believe this?
- Andrew Kryzak, Seminarian